Hey, pop pickers!
let me present Ginge Knievil’s Top of the Pops 2018. Here, we have the cream of underground punk, glam, garage, power pop and rock ‘n’ roll. In the name of charity, bands have come together from Wales, England, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, USA and Japan.
Mental Health Matters Wales is a charity that’s very close to his heart. They’ve helped him in times of crisis and were imperative to his recovery. 100% of the proceeds of the 2 disc set with go directly to Mental Health Matters Wales.
Presales: 1st November 2018.
Release: 1st December 2018.
We decided here at RPM to catch u with our favourite bipolar rock and rolla and have a quick impromptu chat about the CD and his own band here’s what words were said –
There were two key factors that spurred the decision to make it happen. I received some support from Mental Health Matters Wales after hitting a crisis point with my Bipolar Disorder in July this year. It left me thinking “how on earth can I repay those guys?” They were essential in my recovery and they do it all for free. I’d reviewed a load of bands in 2018 and so the idea of merging the two seemed like an awesome idea. I guess the idea was born through the love of a good mixtape too. You must have been blown away when the calibre of bands started offering songs to you to get on these comps? Definitely. I sent out blanket emails, not expecting a response at all, and then I was suddenly inundated with offers! I had to keep things based on my last 12 months worth of reviews due to the amount of interest. Any particular favourites? I genuinely love all 42 bands that have donated a track so picking a favourite would be impossible. I was totally over the moon with the Ten Benson track. Chris Teckkam went over and above and delved into the archive and pulled out an exclusive version of “Tits” that was recorded live at The Garage in London. He got the track mastered especially for the comp and everything. I’m just totally thrilled that all the bands were willing to put their name to this little project. I sat back the other day and looked at the tracklisting and went “whoa!” – there are bands from Wales, England, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Japan and the USA. The fact that they’ve all come together to support a little charity in my community is pretty special.
Who would you hope gets their shit together with a new record that you can then include? Are The Hellacopters recording any time soon?! Hahahahaha. Maybe down the line you and Sal can get together and have a “fistful of top of the pops transatlantic comp” tours? Hahaha.
It was great news when Sal announced the return of his comps. I discovered a load of great bands from the first time around. Whilst the TOTP comp is for charity, hopefully, people will discover their new favourite band in the process. Double bubble, if you like. It’s funny you should say about a tour because more than one person has said what an awesome festival it would be. I don’t think I’m the man to make that happen though! There seems to be a lot of love at the moment for Rock and Roll with loud guitars. Is it about time for a resurgence? Me and you know that there’s always been great rock ‘n’ roll if you scratch the surface. Part of me wants to keep them all to ourselves, mind! Hahaha. I guess it’s kind of baffling how bands like The Hip Priests haven’t been picked up a larger label with some clout behind them. The amount they’ve achieved on their own terms is staggering. I say this without meaning disrespect to the smaller labels; their input is integral for getting good quality rock ‘n’ roll out there. I think it only takes one label to take a punt. It’s a no-brainer in my eyes. All the hard work has already been done.
What next is in the pipeline?
I’ll see how this one sells and then maybe have a look at future releases. I quite like the idea of “Top of the Power Pops.” I’ll ask the postmistress for her take on things when I turn up at the Post Office with a shed load of CDs just before Christmas! She’ll know the answer!! Hahahaha.
As for Nicotine Pretty you’ve had a decent response for the new EP and a few shows lined up. What have you got planned over the coming months?
The response was not something we expected. Nothing is taken for granted, but when good review after good review started pouring in, we were obviously more than happy. There are shows with The Quireboys and Eddie and the Hot Rods up next and then we’ll have a little look at things in the New Year.
Have you enough material for the debut long player ready to go?
All of these songs have been floating around for two years so yeah, there’s more than enough for a long player in reserve. I quite like the EP route though. It’s short, sharp and in your face. The idea was for a series of EP’s on CD and then a vinyl compilation at the end. That still may be achievable… if we don’t self-destruct! Hahaha.
There must have been a time when you thought this band was over before it begun? Without a doubt. People who know the history, know the history. There’s no need for me to repeat things. The band has been stop/start but somehow we’ve kept things going. There were several points where I thought that this bunch of tracks wouldn’t get a physical release. I still call it “The EP That Should Never Have Been.” Things are a bit hazy as we lived and breathed the recording process for a few months to get things the best we could. We did it though and we’re so, so proud of it.
Does being in a band improve your playing and songwriting? Or did the downtime give you a focus on writing the best songs you could and improve your playing / songwriting?
I only really picked up a six string with some purpose when Nicotine Pretty started so I guess my playing must’ve improved. I used to play a bit in ‘95 or something but always used Richey Edwards volume levels. I’ve had a few bass gigs over the years but never writing, playing and singing. Things started off really sedate when I hooked up with Lew to start Nicotine Pretty. We few essentially a poor man’s Dogs D’Amour on Valium. Things have since evolved and I like to think my playing has too. My aim is to be Grade 8 Johnny Thunders!
How do you prefer to write? Alone or bouncing off someone else? When you write and take it to the band do the songs change a great deal?
I’m more of a loner at this point in time. When I take things to the band, bits change and arrangements alter but things don’t deviate too much. Lew has a hand in songwriting too but we’ve yet to write together. It’s probably for the best as I value our friendship!!